Coordinates: 34°03′N 74°23′E / 34.05°N 74.38°E / 34.05; 74.38
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Hill Station
Gulmarg is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Location in Jammu & Kashmir, India
Gulmarg is located in India
Gulmarg (India)
Coordinates: 34°03′N 74°23′E / 34.05°N 74.38°E / 34.05; 74.38
Country India
Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir
2,650 m (8,690 ft)
 • Total1,965[1]
 • OfficialKashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, Dogri, English[2][3]
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)

Gulmarg (Urdu pronunciation: [gʊlmərɡ]), known as Gulmarag[4] (Kashmiri pronunciation: [ɡulmarɨɡ]; lit.'meadow of flowers')[5] in Kashmiri, is a town, hill station, tourist destination, skiing destination, and a notified area committee in the Baramulla district in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.[6][7] It is located at a distance of 31 km (19 mi) from Baramulla and 49 km (30 mi) from Srinagar. The town is situated in the Pir Panjal Range in the Western Himalayas and lies within the boundaries of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary.[8]


Kashmir has many summer retreats suffixed with the word -marg: Sonamarg, Tangmarg, Gulmarg, Khilanmarg, Youmarg, and Nagmarg. Gulmarg is one of the Margs that has historical importance for Kashmiris.[citation needed]

Gulmarg is a compound word or portmanteau of two Persian words, Gul and Marg. Gul means flowers and Marg means meadow.


Gulmarg in August 1969

Yousuf Shah Chak, who ruled Kashmir from 1579 to 1586, frequented the place with his queen Habba Khatoon and renamed it 'Gulmarg' ("meadow of flowers").[9][10] Wild flowers of 21 different varieties were collected by the Mughal emperor Jahangir for his gardens in Gulmarg.[9][11] In the 19th century, British civil servants started using Gulmarg as a retreat to escape summers in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Hunting and golfing were their favorite pastime and three golf courses were established in Gulmarg including one exclusively for women.[12][11] One of the golf courses is located at an altitude of 2,650 metres (8,690 ft) is the world's highest golf course.[12] In 1927, British established a ski club in Gulmarg and two annual ski events were hosted, one during Christmas and Easter.[13][14] Central Asian explorer Aurel Stein also visited Gulmarg during this period.[10]

After the end of British rule in India, Gulmarg became a part of the independent princely state of Kashmir and Jammu. Pakistan planned an invasion of the state called Operation Gulmarg. One of the routes used by the invading militia of Pathan tribesmen, armed and supported by Pakistani regular troops, passed through the Haji Pir pass and Gulmarg headed towards the state capital Srinagar. Gulmarg fell to the invading army, but the Indian Army, led by the 1st Sikh Regiment, successfully defended the outskirts of Srinagar.[15][16] Thereafter, Indian counterattacks pushed the tribesmen back - many towns, including Gulmarg, were recaptured.[17] In 1948, Indian Army established a ski school in Gulmarg which later became the High Altitude Warfare School.[18] On 1 January 1949, the war ended under UN supervision and a Ceasefire line (CFL), which was rechristened the Line of Control (LOC) by the Shimla Agreement of 1972,[19] was established near Gulmarg.[20]

After Indian Independence, Indian planners sought to develop a destination for winter sports in India. In 1960, the Department of Tourism of the Government of India invited Rudolph Matt to select a suitable location for such a purpose. Matt determined Gulmarg would serve as a suitable location as a winter sports destination. In 1968, the Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering was established in Gulmarg to train ski instructors. Over the next decade, Indian planners invested 30 million (US$380,000) to transform Gulmarg into a world-class ski destination. Gulmarg became a centre for skiers from Asian nations.[21] In the mid-1980s, heli-skiing was introduced in Gulmarg.[14]

In the 1990s, the rise of insurgents in Jammu and Kashmir affected tourism in Gulmarg.[21] However, tourism started to recover in late 1990s. Work on the cable car project between Gulmarg and Apharwat Peak, which was commissioned in 1988 by Government of Jammu and Kashmir, resumed in 1998 after being put on hold due to security concerns. In May 1998, Phase 1 of the project, between Gulmarg and Kongdori, began its commercial operation. In May 2005, Phase 2 of the project was completed, making it one of the longest and highest ropeways of Asia. The chairlift installed as a part of Phase 3 of the project began its operations in 2011. The National Winter Games were held in Gulmarg in 1998, 2004 and 2008.[22] In 2014, Government of Jammu and Kashmir drafted a Master Plan–2032 for Gulmarg. The plan includes development of a solid-waste treatment plant on 20 acres of land close to Gulmarg.[23]

Geology and geography[edit]

Gulmarg lies in a cup-shaped valley in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, at an altitude of, 2,650 m (8,694 ft), 56 km from Srinagar.[12] The soil in Gulmarg comprises glacial deposits, lacustrine deposits, and moraines of Pleistocene age covering shales, limestones, sandstones, schists and other varieties of rocks.[24] The natural meadows of Gulmarg, which are covered with snow in winter, allow the growth of wild flowers such as daisies, forget-me-nots and buttercups during spring and summer.[12][9] The meadows are interspersed by enclosed parks and small lakes, and surrounded by forests of green pine and fir.[12] Skiing and other winter sports in Gulmarg are carried out on the slopes of Apharwat peak at a height of 4,267 m (13,999 ft).[14] Many points on Apharwat peak and Khilanmarg offer a panoramic view of Nanga Parbat and Harmukh mountains.[12]


Due to its high elevation, Gulmarg has a humid continental climate where the wet winter season sees heavy snowfall, especially for its latitude. Summers are moderate in temperature and length, whereas shoulder seasons are relatively cool.

Climate data for Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir (1991-2020 normals, extremes 1907-2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.5
Mean maximum °C (°F) 6.1
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 0.7
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −7.7
Mean minimum °C (°F) −12.4
Record low °C (°F) −19.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 161.3
Average rainy days (≥ 2.5 mm) 8.6 10.2 11.5 11.4 10.1 8.9 8.3 8.2 5.8 3.7 3.7 4.7 95.3
Average relative humidity (%) 79 80 75 69 68 67 76 77 69 61 62 70 71
Source 1: India Meteorological Department[25][26]
Source 2: NOAA (humidity)[27]


Religion in Gulmarg (2011)[1]

  Hinduism (86.7%)
  Islam (12.4%)
  Sikhism (0.4%)
  Christianity (0.6%)

At the 2011 Indian census, Gulmarg had a total population of 1,965 over 77 households. The male population in the town stood at 1,957 while there were only eight females and no children between the ages of 0 and 6 years. Gulmarg had an average literacy rate of 99.24%. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constituted 0.61% and 0.15% of the population respectively.[28] Gulmarg has few permanent residents with most residents being tourists or those involved in the tourism industry.[12]


Domestic tourists at Gulmarg

According to CNN, Gulmarg is the "heartland of winter sports in India" and was rated as Asia's seventh best ski destination.[29][30] The town is accessible from Srinagar by road via Tangmarg. The road climbs uphill in the last 12 kilometres to Gulmarg passing through forests of pine and fir.[12][9][11] Winter sports like skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and heli-skiing take place on the slopes of Mount Apharwat reachable by a Gondola lift.[14]

Gulmarg Gondola[edit]

Gulmarg Gondola

Built by the French company Pomagalski, the Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest in the world reaching 3,979 metres.[31] The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour between Gulmarg and a shoulder of nearby Apharwat Peak (4,200 metres (13,800 ft)). The first stage transfers from Gulmarg at 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) to Kongdoori at 3,080 metres (10,100 ft). The second stage which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes passengers to a height of 3,950 metres (12,960 ft) on the Apharwat Peak 4,200 metres (13,800 ft). A chair lift system connects Kongdoori with Mary's shoulder for taking skiers to higher altitudes. The high inflow of tourists has had an effect on the fragile eco-system of Gulmarg and activists have demanded tighter regulation to save the environment of the area from over-tourism.[32]

Ski Resort Terrain Map showing Gulmarg Gondola, lift, and terrain

An accident occurred on 15 June 2017 due to an enormous pine tree being uprooted by a gust of wind and breaking the perspex windows on one of the gondola cabins, causing it to swing violently and its seven occupants to fall 100 ft (30 m) to the ground.[33]

Igloo cafe and Igloo restaurant[edit]

In February 2022, the world's largest igloo cafe was opened in Gulmarg.[34] It was made with a height of 37.5 feet and a diameter of 44.5 feet.[35] Around 40 people can eat there at a time.[36] In 2023, a glass igloo restaurant was developed by Kolahoi Green Heights, a hotel in Gulmarg.[37][38]

Maharani Temple[edit]

Maharani Temple in Gulmarg

Maharani Temple (commonly known as Shiv Temple of Gulmarg) was built by a Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Singh for his wife Maharani Mohini Bai Sisodia who ruled until1915. This temple was considered as the stately possession of the Dogra kings. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. This temple is visible from all corners of Gulmarg.[39]

St Mary's Church[edit]

St Mary's Church in Gulmarg

St Mary's Church is located in the valley of Shepherds in Gulmarg.[40][41] It was built in 1902, during the period of British rule, and was constructed in a British style. Made of grey brick with a green roof and decorated wooden interior walls, it has been described as a "Victorian architectural wonder".[42] In 1920 the church saw the wedding of the brother of Bruce Bairnsfather; Miss Eleanor Hardy Tipping married Capt. T. D. Bairnsfather, with newspapers describing the church as "very prettily decorated" and with the service conducted by Rev Canon Buckwell in the presence of both organ and a full choir.[43][44]

St Mary's was closed for years but was renovated and reopened in 2003, holding its first Christmas service there for 14 years.[45] The church belongs to the Diocese of Amritsar, Church Of North India.


Gulmarg Winter Games 2020[edit]

The first-ever Khelo India Winter Games were held from 7 March at Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir. Around 955 participants took part in the 5-day event. Organised by Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council in collaboration Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the Games included various sports disciplines at the ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir from 7 to 11 March.[46]

Avalanche information center[edit]

In 2008, an American avalanche forecaster named Brian Newman began an NGO named Gulmarg Avalanche Center. The purpose of this organization was to dispense daily avalanche risk bulletins to visitors entering the unmanaged backcountry surrounding the Gulmarg ski area. The center provides avalanche education including a free weekly avalanche awareness talk during the winter season.


An annual three-day Gulmarg Winter Festival is held in March. Budding artists in the fields of music, films and photography are given an opportunity to showcase their work during the festival.

In popular culture[edit]

Gulmarg has been the shooting location many Bollywood films like Bobby, Aap Ki Kasam, Jab Tak Hai Jaan,[47] Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Highway, Phantom, Haider, etc.[48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Gulmarg population". Census India 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  2. ^ "The Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Act, 2020" (PDF). The Gazette of India. 27 September 2020. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Parliament passes JK Official Languages Bill, 2020". Rising Kashmir. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  4. ^ Toshakhani, S.K; Koul, Lal; Hajni, Mohiuddin; Pushp, P; Mohiuddin, Akhtar (1968–1980). Kashir Dictionary (in Kashmiri). Vol. 5. Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Arts Culture and Languages. p. 362.
  5. ^ Plumbe, Wilfred John (1990). The Golden Pagoda Tree: Adventures in Southeast Asia. Grey Seal. p. 211. ISBN 9781856400039. Gulmarg , meaning 'Meadow of Flowers' was 8,500 feet above sea level'
  6. ^ "A Family Ski Adventure in the Himalayas". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 178.
  8. ^ "COMPLIANCE REPORT of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary: A Biodiversity Hotspot" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d Chaturvedi, B.K. (2002). Tourist Centers Of India. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 82. ISBN 978-81-7182-137-2.
  10. ^ a b "About Gulmarg". Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  11. ^ a b c Lovell-Hoare, Sophie; Lovell-Hoare, Max (1 July 2014). Kashmir: Jammu. Kashmir Valley. Ladakh. Zanskar. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 208–11. ISBN 978-1-84162-396-2.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Mitra, Swati (2013). Jammu & Kashmir: Travel Guide. Eicher Goodearth Limited. pp. 30–36. ISBN 978-93-80262-45-1.
  13. ^ Lang, Thomas. "Gulmarg - Kashmir - India" (PDF). Canadian Ski Year Book 1934. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d "Gulmarg". Official Website of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  15. ^ Krishna, Ashok (1998). India's Armed Forces: Fifty Years of War and Peace. Lancer Publishers. pp. 12–15. ISBN 978-1-897829-47-9.
  16. ^ Sarkar, Bhaskar (1 November 2014). "Defence of Srinagar 1947". Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  17. ^ Prasad, Shankar (2005). The Gallant Dogras: An Illustrated History of the Dogra Regiment. Lancer Publishers. pp. 93–97. ISBN 978-81-7062-268-0.
  18. ^ Pandit, Rajat (1 May 2004). "High-altitude warfare school takes global aim". Times of India. New Delhi. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  19. ^ Karim, Afsir (1991). Counter Terrorism, the Pakistan Factor. Lancer Publishers. pp. 142–145. ISBN 978-81-7062-127-0.
  20. ^ Rafiq, Zahid (26 February 2009). "Ski respite for war weary Kashmiris". BBC News. Gulmarg. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  21. ^ a b Seth, Pran Nath (1 January 2006). Successful Tourism: Volume I: Fundamentals of Tourism. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. pp. 175–176. ISBN 978-81-207-3199-8.
  22. ^ "About Gondola". Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  23. ^ Wani, Arif Shafi (30 May 2014). "Draft Master Plan-2032 for Gulmarg". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  24. ^ Vaidya, Balkrishna C. (1 January 2003). Geography of Transport Development in India. Concept Publishing Company. p. 354. ISBN 978-81-7022-957-5.
  25. ^ "Climatological Tables of Observatories in India 1991-2020" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. Retrieved 7 April 2024.
  26. ^ "Extremes of Temperature and Rainfall for Indian Stations (up to 2012)" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. Retrieved 7 April 2024.
  27. ^ "Gulmarg Climate Normals 1991–2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 7 April 2024.
  28. ^ "Gulmarg Population Census 2011". Census Commission of India. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Kashmir ski paradise beckons". CNN.
  30. ^ "Gulmarg rated Asia's seventh best ski resort". Daily Bhaskar.
  31. ^ "Gulmarg among 7 top ski resorts in Asia: CNN Int'l". Greater Kashmir.
  32. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2011). Tourism pressure on high elevation IBAs. Mistnet 12(1): 11-12.
  33. ^ "Gulmarg Gondola claims 7 lives in tragic accident | K-Line Adventures". K-Line Adventures. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  34. ^ "'World's largest' Igloo Cafe in Gulmarg can seat 40 guests. Details here".
  35. ^ "'Largest' igloo café comes up in Gulmarg, can seat 40 guests".
  36. ^ "World's largest igloo cafe is now open in J&K's Gulmarg". The Times of India.
  37. ^ "India's first glass igloo restaurant in J-K's Gulmarg".
  38. ^ "In Pics: India's first glass igloo restaurant in Kashmir's Gulmarg".
  39. ^ "Maharani Temple Gulmarg Kashmir".[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "St. Mary's Church Gulmarg India Travel Guide | Location | History | about & facts of St. Mary's Church | Gulmarg |". Buzzntravel. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  41. ^ "St Mary Church - tourist attraction in gulmarg". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  42. ^ "St Mary Church - Gulmarg". Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  43. ^ "Wedding at Gulmarg - Bruce Bairnsfather's Brother". The Pioneer Mail. 17 September 1920. p. 38. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  44. ^ Holt, Major Tonie; Holt, Valmai (1995). The Biography of Captain Bruce Bairnsfather: In Search of the Better Ole (2014 ed.). Milestone Publications. ISBN 9781473827233. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  45. ^ "Gulmarg". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  46. ^ "Gulmarg to host 5-day national winter games from March 7, 2020 | Times of India Travel". Archived from the original on 25 February 2020.
  47. ^ Holiday, the Bollywood way
  48. ^ This is cheating! The Manali in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is actually Gulmarg, fumes Omar on Twitter
  49. ^ "Omar Abdullah disappointed over Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani projecting Gulmarg as Manali". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  50. ^ "Kalki enjoys skiing in Gulmarg". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  51. ^ "Saif goes from Beirut to Gulmarg". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  52. ^ "Outlook Photogallery". Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  53. ^ "NDTV Movies". Archived from the original on 4 April 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  54. ^ "Kashmir First - The Gulmarg Nostalgia-X". Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  55. ^ "Movies Filmed in Kashmir". Retrieved 11 February 2015.